25 Errors of the Prosperity Gospel

One of the most popular and widespread heresies of the modern world is the Prosperity Gospel. Variously called Prosperity Theology, the Faith Movement, the Word of Faith, and derisively “Name and Claim It,” this teaching stresses a few basic ideas:

a. God wants all of His children to prosper financially and materially.

b. God wants all of His children to be healed and to walk in divine health.

c. Have faith in your faith.

d. Your words have power, and creates your reality.

e. God is contractually bound to honor your faith, and fulfill words spoken in faith.

This misunderstanding of biblical doctrine contains many errors. Here are some…

1. Ignores/dilutes the true Gospel: The focus on is on faith, healing and financial prosperity, thus diverting attention from the Great Commission and the mandate of Christ. Matthew 28:18-20, Galatians 1:7-9, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4.

2. Faith in faith: Too often faith itself is the goal, not faith in God. Mark 11:22,
John 6:29, Mark 9:23-25, 1 Corinthians 2:5, James 2:19, 1 Peter 1:21

3. Denies the sovereignty of God: God virtually becomes the servant of a believing person, and must obey human commands. Ephesians 1:11, Philippians 2:13, Exodus 4:11-12, Romans 9:19-21, Psalm 115:3, Proverbs 21:30, 16:4, 9, 33.

4. Engenders guilt, shame and fear: No one has perfect faith, therefore, any sickness or financial need means you have failed as a Christian. Mark 9:23-25, Romans 8:1, John 3:17, 2 Timothy 1:7.

5. Focus on self, not others. Philippians 2:3, Romans 12:10, Galatians 5:13-14, Ephesians 5:21.

6. Encourages pride and arrogance: If you are wealthy and healthy, you can claim it is because of your superior faith. 1 Timothy 6:17, Deuteronomy 8:13-14.

7. Discontent: Instead of being satisfied with your needs being met, and your status in life, you are taught to always want more. 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:11.

8. No theology of suffering: There is no appropriate understanding of the reasons for suffering, and how God can use suffering. Romans 8:17-18, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Exodus 4:11-12.

9. Magical approach to faith. The idea of the power of Positive Confession and how your faith creates your reality are not Christian. Rather, these ideas are Occultic in nature. Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Galatians 5:20, Isaiah 8:19-20, Micah 5:12.

10. False reality: “Faith people” often do not accept the reality of life in this fallen world. Proverbs 14:12, 14:15, 12:11, 12:15, 26:24-26, 27:12, 28:4, 22:3, 14:15, 23.

11. Christianity should be about giving, not getting. Generosity should be a virtue, not a means to get more things. Acts 20:35, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Matthew 10:8, Matthew 5:42, Luke 12:33, 1 Timothy 6:18, Proverbs 11:25, Proverbs 22:9.

12. Love for the world: We are to shun the values and beliefs of this world, not indulge in them. James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-16, Romans 12:2, Galatians 6:14, James 1:27.

13. Peddling the Gospel. Prosperity preachers use their “gospel” as a means to grow their own person empires and acquire wealth. 2 Corinthians 2:17, 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 2 Peter 2:3, 1 Timothy 6:5.

14. Exploits the poor. It is often the most needy who give to support these ministries. 2 Peter 2:3, Proverbs 22:22, 14:31, 21:13.

15. No care provided for the poor. Instead of alms and caring for the poor, the poor are encouraged to give to the Prosperity ministries. Proverbs 21:13, 22:9, 28:27; 29:7, Ecclesiastes 5:17; Romans 12:13, Isaiah 58:7, Deuteronomy 15:7, Galatians 2:10.

16. Ignores the dangers of wealth. The Bible has much to say about the corrupting power and seductive influence of riches. 1 Timothy 6:9-10, Luke 12:15-21, Micah 4:19, Deuteronomy 8:10-18, Psalm 15:27, Proverbs 28:20, James 5:1-6, Matthew 16:26.

17. Produces a false hope in riches. Often those who are wealthy put all their hope in the financial status, not in God. Proverbs 11:4, 11:28, 23:4-5, 1 Timothy 6:17, Psalm 52:7.

18. Love of money: We are repeatedly commanded to NOT love money. Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 3:3, Ecclesiastes 5:10, Matthew 6:24.

19. Fosters greed, covetousness and materialism. Exodus 20:17, Jeremiah 6:13, Micah 2:2, Colossians 3:5, Proverbs 15:27, Luke 12:15, Psalm 62:10, Luke 18:22-25, Matthew 6:19.

20. Focus on temporal blessings, not eternal. Colossians 3:2, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 19:21, 1 Timothy 6:19, 1 Peter 1:4.

21. Misunderstanding of the true wealth and success: All Christians are blessed and rich, but in spiritual treasure, not material. James 2:5, Revelation 2:9, 2 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Corinthians 1:4-5, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, Ephesians 1:7, 18, Ephesians 2:7, Ephesians 3:8, Philippians 4:19, Colossians 2:2-3, Hebrews 11:6, Proverbs 13:7.

23. Diverts funds from ministry, missions, etc. Money that goes to grow TV ministries, provide cars for megachurch pastors, or build extravagant houses for ministry leaders could be used to further the true Gospel. 1 Timothy 6:18-19, 1 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 9:12-13.

24. Deifies man. E.W. Kenyon (the father of the Prosperity Gospel) taught that Christians could become “supermen.” Many Prosperity preachers teach that we are little “gods.” Genesis 3:5, Romans 1:25, Psalm 50:21, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Daniel 11:36, Ezekiel 28:2.

25. False view of Christ. Some Prosperity preachers teach that Christ had to die spiritually in order to save us. They teach that Christ’s physical death on the cross was an insufficient sacrifice for full redemption. 1 Peter 1:9, Hebrews 9:14, Colossians 2:13-14, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Peter 4:1, Hebrews 2:14-15, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

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